A Comprehensive Guide to Renting a Car in Ireland

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UPDATED 3/19/2020 –A few things have changed on the Ireland car rental scene. I though you were due for an update! 

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[As I am rereading this post before I publish, I recognize it is long. What was a simple “how-to” became comprehensive guide to renting a car in Ireland. I debated splitting up the content into two posts, but one of the reasons I created Infinite Ireland was to be sure first-time travelers to Ireland would have all the information in one place. It is a lot to take in, but I hope that the information will help you better understand how to rent a car in Ireland.

Before you get started, I created a car rental spreadsheet template to help you get the best price on your Ireland car rental. Enter your email below, to grab it. 

 

A Comprehesive Guide to Renting a Car in Ireland

To really get intimate, to discover places and to meet people, requires renting a car in Ireland. Simply put, we have gone places in a rental car that buses and large tour groups cannot go. We’ve chatted with locals for hours past closing time. We’ve eaten amazing dinners in remote restaurants. We’ve been the only people at some of Ireland’s best attractions.

All because we didn’t have to abide by someone else’s schedule. Because we opted for a rental car.

There are more rules and nuances for renting a car in Ireland than almost anywhere else in the world. It can be challenging, but as soon as you understand the lingo and what impacts the bottom line, you can get a good deal and be equipped with the wheels for a great trip.

Demystifying Renting a Car in Ireland

Each rental car website will ask you for basically the same information. These selections decide how much your quote will be so it is a good idea to check these details carefully.

Pick up and drop off location: The easiest and most convenient place to get your rental car is at the airport. Airport pickups have a small location surcharge, but I think the convenience of not driving in the city is well-worth the minimal extra cost.

If it works with your itinerary, I love flying in and out of Shannon Airport. It is much smaller and it sees a lot less traffic. Going through customs, picking up checked luggage, and renting a car should be quick and easy. We have landed and been on the road in less than 45 minutes.

Shannon Airport Departures Area
The lovely and often quiet, Shannon Airport via Sean MacEntee

If you fly into Dublin and plan to see the city, pick up the rental car after exploring for a day or two. It is easy to get around the capital using public transport. Plus you will avoid driving in the city and paying for extra days that you won’t use the car.

Date and time of pick up and drop off: Obviously the longer you rent a car in Ireland, the costlier it will be. I try to time my pick-up and drop off within an hour of each other (e.g. pick up at 7:00 AM and drop off at 8:00 AM). In doing so, I am not usually charged any extra/partial days. Working out the timing is usually pretty easy for us as most transatlantic flights to the US arrive and depart in the morning.

Age at the time of rental: Renters between the ages of 25 and 74 will receive the lowest rates available. If you are between 21 and 24, you will likely have to pay an extra fee for each day. Unfortunately those under 21 cannot rent in Ireland. Similarly, seniors over 75 may find it difficult to rent a car because of age restrictions, but if you’re able to provide good health and no accidents within the last five years that will help!

Transmission: Automatic or manual (stick shift) transmission cars differ greatly in cost. Manual transmissions are much less expensive and are more common among the local drivers. However, if you do not drive a manual transmission vehicle in your daily life, I would stick to an automatic in Ireland. While a manual is tempting since the price difference is so big, the ease of driving an automatic is worth the extra cost especially on winding and narrow roads!

Extra Drivers: The number of additional driver’s increases the cost of your daily rental fee. Most companies charge an extra €11 per day. If you think you will need more than one driver to break up the trip or fear someone not feeling up to driving, it may be worth the extra cost.

In our family, my husband Joe is usually the designated driver and I am the navigator. We don’t typically pay the extra cost per day to have two people at the wheel. But when we knew Joe was feeling under the weather before our last trip, we opted for the extra driver upon arrival (they are always happy to sell you more options when you arrive).

Vehicle Size:  I generally like a small vehicle–a compact for two people, intermediate or full size for four. If you’re traveling with more than 5 or 6 people and have two people who can drive, I’d opt for two cars rather than try to all fit into a “people-mover”, or large van.  You really need to pay attention to the luggage space available (it can often be a bit tighter than you anticipate).

Currency: Some rental websites will ask which currency the quote should be displayed. I always look at quotes in euros so I know I am comparing apples to apples across all websites.

Extras: A number of extra services are available at checkout such as child seats, GPS, and even a mobile hot spot. I think most first-time visitors are comforted by having a GPS, but they aren’t perfect. A good one-two-punch is using GPS (either Garmin or your phone is fine) and paper maps will help you get you where you are going.

Rental Car Insurance

Car Rental Repairs

Insurance is by far the biggest headache when renting a car in Ireland. There are several different types of insurance in a rental agreement. Understanding which ones to purchase and why to buy them can be really important.

CDW/Collision Damage Waiver/Basic Insurance/LLI/Limited Liability Insurance/CDI/Collision Damage Insurance (sooo many names…): Everyone* is mandated to have Collision Damage Waiver Insurance (CDW for short) when renting a car in Ireland. CDW reduces your personal financial responsibility for damage to your vehicle. After purchasing CDW, you will have a minimum deductible of €1500-3000 for any damage when you return. CDW typically does not include tire, window, or undercarriage damage.

This €1500-3000 deductible will be held on your account until you bring the car back without any dents or scratches. If you do, the hold is removed. If there is any damage, they will charge the card the amount it takes to fix it. Right then and there (a good reason to get the Super Collision Damage insurance–see below).

The cost of CDW can vary greatly from company to company. All car rental websites ending in .ie (versus .com) include it in the quote online. If you use a non-Irish based site like Orbitz or Hertz.com, it won’t be included. So best to use Irish website.

*World MasterCard and Chase Insurance CDW Coverage: You can utilize credit card insurance coverage in Ireland with World MasterCard and Chase. If you have either card, call the card benefits line and find out if they cover the Republic and Northern Ireland.

It’s important to know that car rental company will place a hold on your credit card for the duration of the rental if you decline their insurance. The hold will be removed or refunded once the car is returned with no damage or the amount of damage will be charged to your card (just like with CDW only rentals). You will need to work with Chase or MasterCard to complete the claims process.

A small administration fee is also usually charged when declining the CDW, about €25-€30.

I used this coverage with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card for the first time in 2015. I was really pleased with the service and it did save me some money, but it may not be for everyone. Check out all the details in this post. 

Excess Insurance/Super Damage Waiver:  This is the ultimate car insurance that will cover all sorts of scratches and bruises to your rental vehicle. By purchasing this extra insurance your liability for the vehicle will be down to €0.00-€300. Car rental agencies usually like to hide how much this is per day. Look in the terms and conditions for this information (usually on the second page of the booking process). Again always check what is included. Most still don’t cover tires or glass.

We almost always purchase this and have been glad we did on a few occasions. Scratches from roadside branches are inevitable. Plus, you get to easily drop off your car at the end of your rental without having to wait for the inspection or worry about what they’ll find.

Theft Insurance: Theft insurance protects against the obvious, the theft of a rental car. This hasn’t ever been something we have worried too much about. It is often included in CDW/Excess/Super Damage Waiver Insurance.

Personal Liability Insurance: Personal effects insurance is injury and accidental death coverage for the driver and passengers.

Taxes, Fees:

The final payment will also include a few other add-ons. Not all rental companies charge all of these fees, but you should at least be aware of them.

euros
Money, money, money!
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) at 13.5% –mandatory
  • Road tax
  • Airport tax or location charge
  • Licensing fee
  • Cross border driving fee
  • M50 toll fee (Toll road outside of Dublin now has barrier free toll—basically you pay rental car company rather than a toll booth)
  • Late fees (returning the car later than indicated on reservation)
  • Cancellation fees

Fuel

Gas or petrol is expensive in Ireland. Really expensive.  The average current price is €1.38/liter (7/20/2019).  Yikes!

Silver lining here: a fill up in an automatic Nissan Micra can last us most of our two-week trip.

A Comprehensive Guide to Renting a Car in Ireland
Petrol Station–make sure you pay attention to which type of fuel you need!

When filling up the tank, check which type of fuel the car requires. Accidentally insert diesel and you will not only be in trouble mechanically, but you may need to pay the car rental company for the mistake.

You should also know your rental car’s fuel return policy—some want it full on return, others want it empty.  Just check so you don’t pay more than you have to.

Begin the Search Process

Rental Car Booking Form
First Steps to Freedom–A Rental Car!

So now that you know what impacts the bottom line–how do you begin your search process? Listed below are the rental agencies that I am aware of at the Shannon and Dublin airports.  Almost all the links end in .ie, which is Ireland’s website domain registration. As mentioned above, .ie will usually contain CDW insurance and is therefore a little easier to compare apples to apples.

Select one and insert your travel information. Trips a year or more away may need to wait until six months or closer for some agencies to give you a quote. Pay close attention to what is included in each estimate.

Again, if something isn’t included, look in the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. Most companies list their prices for SCDW and extras like GPS there, if not don’t hesitate to give them a call to get accurate information.

Shannon Airport    Dublin Airport
Avis Avis
Budget Rent a Car Budget
Dooley Car Rentals Dooley Car Rentals
Enterprise Enterprise
Europcar Europcar
Hertz Hertz
National Car Rental (managed by Enterprise) National Car Rental (managed by Enterprise)
Payless Car Rental Payless Car Rental
Thrifty Sixt
Irish Car Rentals Thrifty
Conns Ireland Car Rental (a Hertz agent with SCDW included) Irish Car Rentals
Conns Ireland Car Rental (a Hertz agent with SCDW included)
New Way Car Rental (all insurances included)

When car rental shopping, I create a spreadsheet to organize everything. It includes: all of the companies above; the quote; what is included; what is not included and their approximate costs; and any other details important to that company. This helps me better compare each agency and remember all the details.

As long as you plan to get the full Super Collision Damage Waiver insurance, you can rent from any one of these companies without much worry since you will be fully covered.

Miscellaneous Car Rental Tips:

Renting a Car in Ireland

Payment must be by credit card in the name of the primary driver. Cash, check, or debit card are usuallynot accepted.

Give your flight information with your reservation. If the plane is delayed longer than two hours, the car rental company may consider you a no-show if they don’t have this information, but if they do, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Don’t worry about air conditioning. It rarely gets hot enough to call for spending extra money on it.

Trunks are smaller, so pack light.

Take copies of your reservation and the total cost you expect to pay to the rental counter. If it doesn’t match up make sure they give you an explanation.

Before you leave the airport, check the car for scratches, dings, bulges in the tire, etc., and make sure they are noted on the rental sheet. Take pictures with a date stamp too—just in case you need it after you return.

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Shew! That’s a lot of information, but I know it’s helpful to have everything at your fingertips!

If you read the comments below, you’ll notice I used to love Dan Dooley. I don’t as much any more. I turned the comments back on in case you have any new questions! :-)

Now’s the time to start planning that car rental my friends. Grab the best car rental spreadsheet organizer and book that rental :-)

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264 Comments

  1. I will be renting a car for only 8 days in September. I have looked at Easy Tour Ireland and at Hertz and the rental for similar cars (each offer different models under the same category, I kid you not) is entirely different. I am VERY interested to hear back from Marco and Jay about the Chase Sapphire Preferred CDW coverage with the letter from the bank. Thank you for starting this blog, and as you can see from your responses over the years, this is a hot topic that has little or no guideline information online.

    1. Hi Caroline! I am so glad you found the blog helpful. How strange the cars are completely different models–since it is essentially in the end Hertz the one renting the vehicle for both online quotes. I think you’ll find Jay’s response really helpful and I hope it helps you plan your trip a little better. Have a great time in September!

  2. I got a quote on line through Irish Car Rentals. They claim there are “no hidden fees” and no surprises at the counter when you pick up the car, everything is in the price. But in small letters at the bottom of my quote well below where my rental fee quote total is shown, they mention that there is an additional 28 euro location fee for picking up at the airport, even though they know that is the pick up location, they still don’t show that cost added to their quote.

    1. Hi Anthony!
      You were so smart to read the fine print. It sounds like the airport pick-up fee that everyone charges, usually at the counter. I am surprised if Irish Car rentals would be able to give an all inclusive rate for things like super collision damage or gps rental. Those are almost always charged directly by the provider. If you decide to go with them–let me know how it goes! :-)

  3. Hi Stephanie,

    My daughter-in-law is from Tipperary, so she, my son and the 3 grandkids moved back to Ireland from NY last year. So my wife and I have visited Ireland a dozen times over the past 4 yrs., 6 times in the past year. Our last trip was for 29 days in May. I try to plan our trips 4-5 months in advance and I scour multiple websites to find the best car rental price. So I’ve rented from Alamo, Budget, Avis, Hertz, Europcar, and National at both Shannon and Dublin airports. I’ve never paid for CDW or any other insurance. I have two credit cards through Chase that cover the insurance, the Sapphire Preferred and the United Mileage Plus Explorer. I hate to sound like a commercial for these cards, but for the small annual fee the benefits pay for themselves many times over for anyone traveling to Ireland (and initially I think they both offer mileage bonuses which we’ve used for free flights, but that’s another thread). Pros: Their insurance has no deductible. Even if you pay for the rental company’s best insurance, there is often a deductible. There are also no international fees and I closely monitor the exchange rate and I haven’t found any way to get a better exchange rate than using these cards (always make sure the charge is in Euros, not dollars. If you charge in dollars, their bank makes the exchange and always charges 3-5% more than Chase). Cons: You have to call the number on the back of the card and ask them to email you a letter stating that they cover the CDW in Ireland. I do this about every six months and have never had a problem. They are happy to do it. I keep a copy of the letter on my phone and print out a couple of copies and hand it to the agent at the desk with my driver’s license and credit card. Some companies have charged an “administrative fee” of 25 or 30 Euro, other companies have not. They all put a “hold” on your card. The most hold I have experienced was 2000 euro. I’m neurotic and anxious about damage so I always photo any damage to the vehicle as others have suggested, and if there is any damage that isn’t noted on the invoice, I go back in to the office and tell them. I’ve been lucky that I’ve never returned a vehicle with any serious damage. I have had small nicks and dings that I don’t think were on the vehicle when I rented it, but I think the rental companies are generally pretty lenient about small nicks and scratches. I did see someone else returning a vehicle to Hertz at Shannon and they tried to charge him for a new tire because there was some damage to a tire, but he objected and the supervisor relented and didn’t charge him. The other con is that if there is damage, you will be charged for it and then you have to deal with the credit card company. I had a blowout (hit a pothole on a back road) and Europcar insisted that I purchase a new tire (no pro-rata, even though the blown tire had 37,000 km). I bought a new tire at a local shop for 80 euro and I’ve put in a claim to card benefits. I had to send them all the receipts and fill out a claim form just last week. Haven’t heard from them yet. I’ll let you know.

    1. Hi Arnie!!

      Thanks so much for your detailed post! I actually love the chase cards too! I am working on an updated guide for renting a car in Ireland and the Chase benefit is front and center. The cards are so accessibly and the added bonus is the Ultimate Rewards points to help earn a free flight. We actually just used the card in France and had a pretty significant scrape. We are working with the benefits dept. and so far so good. I’d love to hear how you get on with your claim. Please keep me posted! :-)

      1. Got the check. I had to send them 5 documents, and then they sent me a letter. The letter said they “carefully reviewed” my documents, but obviously they hadn’t because they requested more documents for info that was already provided. But once I submitted them, the check was in the mail within 2 weeks.

  4. Hope to be touring Ireland, Scotland, and England starting in Shannon and ending there. If we rent a car and travel to Scotland and England, what is the likely charge for travel outside Ireland? Our itinerary has us returning the car where we pick it up…at Shannon airport.

    1. Hi Ken,
      It might be best to leave the car early and fly over to your destination–if it works better to keep the rental. I really suggest a phone call with the rental agency to discuss their specific policies. Every company is different and will charge different fees for travel outside of Ireland. I always suggest working with a company that has a presence in Ireland as well as Scotland and England just in case you encounter any problems while you are out of the country. Either way, sounds like a fantastic trip! Enjoy your holiday!

      1. Hi Ken, my wife and I just spent several weeks in Ireland, Scotland, and England as you will be doing. It was amazing.

        Regarding the car hire, a couple of things you might want to consider (in no particular order):

        * If you will be spending time in Edinburgh, any time paid for a hired car will be mostly wasted unless you plan on doing many activities that would be more than 10 or 15 minutes outside the city proper. Driving in Edinburgh city is a mess as it’s such an old city with many one ways, tiny streets, construction areas etc..& it’s so much easier to take public trans / taxis. But even if you were OK with the driving part, the parking would be expensive, complicated & in many areas impossible.

        * I found hiring a car in the UK to be a bit less expensive than IE so when you consider the extra cost of IE care hires plus the fee that you will pay for out-of-country usage, Stephs advice on leaving the car in IE should be well considered.

        * Have you booked your flights between IE & the UK already? If not, you may consider flying into Shannon then flying to the UK from Dublin so you don’t have to circle back to Shannon after your IE travels. Then fly back home out of London rather than all the travel back from UK to IE to get back to Shannon. If you already have your return trip booked this probably won’t work for you but I say this after realizing how much of our trip was eaten up by the way I booked out flights.
        We used Amex flights for Virgin Upper Class as it was a very special trip for my wife’s birthday and our 25th anniversary, but in retrospect I would have rather done it differently. Since Virgin didn’t have a direct flight to Ireland, we flew JFK to London, then later that day from London to Dublin where we really started the trip. We hired a care after 2 days in Dublin (no car necessary there) to drive around to our other destinations in IE and then circled back to Dublin to fly over to Scotland. After Scotland we took a train down into England into the Lakes District, and then a few days later another train back down into London where we flew home from LHR.

        It was a fantastic trip but too much down time for the flights:
        a. We had to fly from South Carolina up to JFK, so to guard against cancelled flights as best I could I booked a 9.30pm flight from JFK to LHR. We left SC at 10am and got to JFK at about noon so we have a very long downtime, 9hrs +, waiting for that 9.30 Virgin flight.

        b. When we got to LHR at 9.00am the next day, our flight to Dublin was at 2.30pm so that was another 5+ hours of downtime. I could have booked an earlier flight to Dublin but with international flight so often delayed I didn’t want to risk missing the connection to Dublin.

        c. Since we flew in AND out of Dublin, and spent out last two nights over on the West coast of IE, we had the drive back over to the Dublin airport which was again about 4 hours of driving.

        At the time I planned it, the schedule seemed OK as we were making a big circle and seeing lots along the way. But with 16 days planned, we really lost close to 3 effective days to travel. Because we loved it so much, next time we want every minute we can squeeze out of it to be used enjoying the people and the country, giving as little as possible to the travel back and forth.

        I hope this is helpful to you and I know you are going to have an amazing time. Let us know how it goes!

        So, all in all, knowing what I know now, next trip will absolutely be direct into IE from the US and

  5. So we are back from our trip! Good news: WOW. OMG. HOLY CR@P!!!!!

    Bad news: I am suffering from post-holiday depression after being separated from the most beautiful people and places I have ever experienced in my life!

    Good news, we can – and WILL go back. I travel as often as possible and consider it one of the greatest privileges in life to do so. So after planning this trip for my wife’s 50th for the better part of 16 months with very high expectations I have to say that those high expectations were dwarfed by the amazing and fabulous reality of the experience.

    I will be taking time over the next few weeks to write all of my of Tripadvisor reviews for the time I was in Ireland, Scotland, & the UK. If you are interested in reading any of them you can fine them under my profile at http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/jbs1963

    I will be covering hotels, restaurants & attractions from: dublin, new ross, waterford, mallow, dingle, ashford castle, cong, edinburgh, kendal, bowness on wendermere, and london. Now back to the topic at hand

    MY CAR RENTAL EXPERIENCE IN IRELAND
    First of all MANY MANY thanks to STEPHANIE and JOE and all of those who took time to contribute here on InfiniteIreland. It was very helpful to me in planning for the car rental which by far was the most intimidating part of planning the entire trip based on the nightmare reviews and postings I read prior to booking.

    My car rental choice in Ireland was Europcar. I selected that agency after calling the local Ireland offices in Dublin of several agencies to find out their exact policies on accepting Chase Sapphire insurance. I was quite please with Dooley’s representative but their car selection for the period I needed was somewhat limited. They told me they would accept the Chase coverage with a 3000euro hold on the card. Europcar had a 2000eu hold, competitive daily prices and a very good car selection. They also offered a pickup in town just about a mile from The Shelbourne where we were staying. As Stephanie has suggested, we did not want or need a car for our time in Dublin so the city center pickup with airport drop off was ideal for us as we could head straight back to the airport, drop the car & catch our flight to Edinburgh.

    Europcar rep told me I would just need to bring the letter of coverage with me and present it at the time of hiring the car. Chase was accommodating and actually emailed me the letter within an hour of the call. I did end up calling them again a week before we left as I had read that some agencies require the letter to be dated no more than 2 weeks prior to help ensure coverage was still in effect. Chase again replied within and hour with the email info. Be sure to ask Chase to specify your name and the last 4 digits of the card you will be using.

    When you rent using the CHASE Sapphire care (and I believe this is true with the few others that offer coverage in IE) you must decline ALL agency-offered CDW insurance options. DO NOT LET THEM TALK YOU INTO ANY OTHER COVERAGE as you DO NOT NEED IT. With Chase, you are fully covered for theft, damage, windshields, tires, etc. On my card it’s up to $50,000 usd (about 44,400eu at this writing). Check the coverage for your card type and account level.

    The ‘Excess’ most agencies pitch is to reduce your deductible cost in case of accidental damage, but with Chase there is no deductible anyway so no need to take it from the agency. It’s a money maker for them and they reasonable do try to push it. Just to clarify the point again – if you ACCEPT the CDW from the agency, Chase will NOT provide ANY supplemental coverage – so DECLINE everything.

    As long as you are ok on your available credit to handle the 2000 euro (currently $2250usd) temporary hold on your available credit limit, then this is a great option for those who have Chase or another card with similar benefits. I generally use American Express Platinum for all of our travel expense so I was really surprised that Chase offered coverage in IE but Amex did not. Chase’s other travel benefits are excellent also as I believe Arnie mentioned earlier, so check it out if you have good credit. (Disclaimer- I do not work with/for or have any association with Chase other than being a cardholder).

    EUROPCAR: Other than the 45 min or so it took me to actually get in front of the Europcar agent and get processed (there was a queue of about 10 minutes and another 35 minutes of processing the paperwork, going through very lengthy explanations of policy, upselling me to a bigger vehicle, etc) my experience at Europcar was absolutely fantastic. The rep was lovely and not at all nasty when I provided the Chase letter and declined the CDW (I have read numerous reports of other agencies customers being bashed, intimidated, insulted, etc when they try to decline CDW!). She just pointed out the 2000eu hold policy and made sure I understood that & had the credit to also do whatever else I needed to on the card.

    I had requested a VW Golf but we had 5 bags with us and she suggested upgrading. (Note to self and others: WE OVERPACKED BY A FACTOR OF 10!!). 2 large suitcases, 1 roll on overnighter case, and 2 carry ons) so she suggested we upgrade to a slightly larger car. She put us into a grey Mazda 6 diesel. (http://www.powericare.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-Mazda-CX-5-Desktop-Background-Wallpaper.jpg)

    It was gorgeous, new and really an excellent ride. I think it added maybe 10eu/$12 a day. I cannot recommend highly enough that you get a good diesel. We drove almost all the way around Ireland for about $70 in fuel expense! Same driving in the US in our MKX would have cost several hundred USD.

    It was still a little bigger that I would have liked for the small roads but we still did OK with it. Next time with less bags we will go much smaller.

    So, in summary, the rep at Europcar in Dublin (1 Mark St) could not have been any nicer. Faster yes, nicer- no! So after the 45 mins or so we were off and heading out of Dublin down towards New Ross and Waterford.

    Same with the dropoff at the Dublin airport. The guy who checked us in was fast friendly and had us on the airport shuttle within about 10 minutes of pulling into the drop lot. There were a few light surface scratches on the sides but he overlooked them as I am sure they would easily buff out with compound.

    BTW- expect some scratches on your hired car! The small roads have brush and shrubs growing in walls literally all the way out to the roadside and when an oncoming car comes along there’s no way to avoid pulling over and into those branches. If you happen to brush one of the larger ones you can definitely scratch up the sides. Make sure you know what the policy is for that type of wear and tear.

    Other than being able to give a good first hand review of the agency here are a couple of tips that will be helpful:

    1. Get all the car you need but no more – the SMALLER THE BETTER.
    As you have probably read some of the back roads in IE are literally like US footpaths- barely as wide as a single car. Often if it’s 2 lane traffic you WILL have to pull off to the shoulder to allow other oncoming cars to get past you. After we were on the road and into some of the smaller backroads my wife and I laughed hat I had originally planned on hiring a Range Rover or BMW SUV! SOOOOO glad I wised up.

    2. Get a diesel. The new diesels are powerful, clean, fast starting, and EEEEEEEFICIENT! With fuel costs around $6.50/gallon in IE it makes sense. I’m estimating we got around 45- MPG

    3. Get a GARMIN GPS if you plan on doing any backroads, off the beaten path, out of the way exploring. Our car in IE came with the Garmin portable that you sitck on the windshield and it was SPOT ON for every destination we threw at it from Dublin all the way out to Dingle and all the way up to tiny little Cong and everywhere in between. BTW- based on the cost of the GPS at around $10 a day I thought I would just buy one in the US and load IE maps on it but never got around to it. Next time I will probably just buy an IE version online and have it shipped to my hotel.

    Yes, it ‘might’ have been kind of fun to get a little lost in the countryside as Steph and a few others have mentioned, but you can still do that with a gps. Just turn it off, hang a left somewhere and drive. When you have had enough adventure & want to get back on track the Garmin will get you there. There are some pretty remote areas once you get outside of the larger cities and I could have lost hours of precious time easily if we had not been using the GPS

    Note- I specifically mention the Garmin because over in the UK in Cumbria we hired a car that had a built-in GPS and it was not nearly as easy to use or view as the Garmin. In fact it really sucked. It got us where we needed to but just entering the basic info was not at all intuitive like the Garmin. The Garmin would allow you to zoom out the viewscreen so you could see what was coming up as far out as 8-10 kilometers for food, fuel stops (aka-toilets), points of interest, etc. And the turn-by-turn voice guidance was exceptional. With the first full day or two of left-side driving being a little stressful it was also quite helpful that the Garmin had a very clear presentation of how far until your next major turn or intersection would be as well as the direction you would be turning so you could prepare well in advance.

    Others have mentioned that a good old map will do fine, and they are right, but it’s just my personal preference to recommend a good GPS after having such a good experience with it in our travels in IE. (Disclaimer #2: I am not associated with Garmin! In fact, probably any of the portable devices are probably good, but this one was exceptional. Important point is that the built-in units in the other cars were not good at all.)

    #4 Pack light. Stephanie has mentioned it in her writing here on the site & she gets to shout out a big ‘I TOLD YOU SO’ whenever she wants. I packed enough clothes for a 5 week visit. We were gone from home 16 days and other than the nights we had very formal dining at Waterford Castle and Ashford Castle, I wore the same 3 shirts, and same jeans. I could easily have packed everything I needed in my roll-on small suitcase other than my dinner jacket which I wore on the plane both ways.

    On a side note: I have to mention the WEATHER. We had prepared ourselves for a nearly continuous downpour in Ireland. So I was amazed as we neared the Dublin airport to see sunny skies with just a light mix of fluffy white clouds! That was on Sunday 24 May, 2015. For the next 15 days, including the UK, we had a total of about 3 hours of daytime rain. And even that was like 15-20 minutes then the sun would pop out again. Most days were a mix of intermittent clouds mixed with sun. I would guesstimate, and our photos support it, most days were 70% sunny to 30% cloudy with the exception of our Thursday in Dingle and even that was only for about 4 hours of cloudy mist and a light occasional drizzle as we drove around Slea Head and about an hour of light rain and drizzle when we were riding bikes from Ashford Castle down into Cong through the nature trail.

    When locals would ask where we were from and we told them south carolina they often remarked that we must have brought the sun with us because it was exceptionally beautiful almost the whole time. I know this is not typical but we were SO grateful it worked out this way.

    In summary, please forgive my wordiness but it’s driven by an experience that has forever changed us. It was wonderful beyond all my expectations. The physical beauty of the land; the wonderful people; the history… I want to thank Stephanie and Joe for a great site. I can now see why they do this. Ireland is an inspiring place and we are already making plans for to get back there as soon as we can reasonable do so!

    To those of you planning to go I hope this is helpful and I hope your experience is as mind-bendingly wonderful as ours was. Feel free to ask any follow up questions. I’ll try to respond as I can.

    Best, J

    1. Hi Jay!

      Can I just start out by giving you a great big Thank You!!! What a wonderful summary and such helpful information!! I’ve got a plan for an updated post for renting a car in Ireland and the Chase benefit will be front and center! Your firsthand experience is invaluable–thank you! We’ve actually just got back from France using the Sapphire card and had a few scrapes we entered a claim for. I will be really interested to see how that pans out but so far so good.

      All of your other tips are fantastic too. I can just feel your energy and excitement. It is pretty hard to deny the travel bug once you get it and I think the bug that bites in Ireland is especially strong. :-) I think we are kindred spirits. Can’t wait to hear all about your next trip. :-)

      1. Stephanie, Thank you for the ‘Thank You!!!’ I’m so grateful for the assistance your site provided, so it was easy to take the time to make it a post worthy of those who love IE as much as we do now.

        One thing I forgot to post: TOTAL COST OF THE CAR RENTAL:
        We picked up the car early Tuesday morning, 26 May and returned it early evening Sunday around 5.30PM so we had it the better part of six full days.
        Our original quote was for $276USD including the GPS but our final total was $432USD. That included the $75 in pre-paid fuel (I chose that option so I didn’t have to worry about finding petrol as we were returning it to the airport) plus $13.50 per day for the upgrade to the larger car.

        As I said the an earlier post, the upgraded car will definitely not happen next time. If they have a tennis show with wheels on it I’ll take it!

        I would definitely do the pre-paid fuel again. The price per litre was fair & saved me the hassle of dealing with it on the road.

        InfiniteIreland ROCKS!

        It’s funny about our next trip – Dona & I both agree that even though there are still some really big targets on our bucket list for travel, we think we might have to go back to IE again before we do anything else.

        I’ll be sure to let you know!

        ((BTW- I havent had a moment to even start writing my Tripadvisor reviews but I’ll be sure to let you know & also))

        1. postscript- sorry I just noticed all kinds of typos in my posts! sorry, but I get so excited I type too fast!

          tennis show = tennis SHOE!
          care = car..!

          etc etc…..

          1. Hi Jay! Thanks for letting me know the full cost of the car. I am completely with you on the upgrade of the car. The smaller the car the better. Even the locals seem to think so too. You don’t find too many very large vehicles. Vans seem to be the biggest “common” car. Unless you have lots of people, a smaller car is usually much easier for everyone.

            I can’t wait to see your Trip Advisor reviews. It looks like you are quite a prolific reviewer—my favorite and usually the ones I trust the most! :-)

          2. I will for sure let you know and definitely prolific when I have the time! I know how much I appreciate it when I read other’s reviews and they take the time to really give helpful info so I try to pay it forward.

            I promised Dona I would finished organizing the photostory slide show for us before I do the TA reviews so I’m mid stream on that right now.

            I put together a very brief (4min) video of one of our mornings at Ashford Castle’s Ireland’s School of Falconry. Magic..
            (Note- I’m trying not to let it make me sick, but I dropped my video camera first day we got into IE and something in it broke that caused the colors to be almost sepia and very washed out. Especially sad because of the amazing sunny weather we had almost the whole time– Oh well, better than nothing and still pretty good even as-is).. Thanks!!

            YOUTUBE: Ireland’s School of Falconry /Jay & Dona 2015

          3. I love this! I have been on the fence about doing a Hawk Walk in Ireland, but everyone who does them seems to love it. Ok–a crazy question for you: Birds eat mice. I am terrified (no phobic is a better description) how are the birds fed–nothing live right? Sounds silly even as I type it, but I have to ask. Your answer will determine my destiny with a Hawk Walk! :-)

          4. They are fed little bits of meat. Nothing live ;-) I think you should definitely do it. We did a single hawk, and we were out just over an hour. It was $100 total for the two of us. Guide was Alec – if you go to the one at Ashford Castle you should ask for him. He was fantastic.

        2. Hey, thanks very much for describing your experience with renting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. That’s the card I have as well, and am looking at rental car agencies for a trip in March. (I’m seeing absurdly low rates — as low as 5 euros a day (!) from Hotwire for a mini manual. Maybe 18 euros/day for an economy automatic from Europcar, which still seems suspiciously cheap.)

          I was wondering about the Chase card and how it was accepted at Europcar and Dan Dooley (I have a package including a car from Dan Dooley, but may want to pick up another car for the four days between the end of my package deal and my flight back.) Both the Europcar and Dan Dooley terms & conditions pages specifically name a US World Mastercard and some Canadian Visa cards as the ONLY cards that they accept in waiving the CDW, but neither mentions the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I hope not to have any trouble with the Chase, and Chase sent me a letter within minutes of my request to confirm that they do provide primary coverage in Ireland.

          I understand I’ll have to pay a fee of approx 30 euros, and that they’ll place a 2-3000 euro hold on my card. Do you know how long it typically takes the rental agency to vacate the hold after the car’s safe return?

          Thanks much for all the specific help; this post is super-useful, and I look forward to checking out the rest of the site soon!

          1. Hi Sam! Yes-Dan Dooley does accept the Chase card insurance coverage (yay!) We used it on our trip in November with no problems at all. I honestly don’t know how long it took for the hold to be removed, but I am sure that I check our card a couple days after returning to the US and the hold was definitely gone. So I am not sure if it is same day service, but soon after definitely. Of course if they find any damage on your car then they remove the hold, but charge whatever damage was found. Then you would work with Chase benefits department to have the charges removed. I hope this helps answer your questions. :-)

  6. Hi Stephany ,
    Jo Ann and I have visited Irland three other times besides the soon to be trip the 1st week in August . We very much enjoy the freedom that a car gives us not to mention the
    freedom from unpleasant people on the tour .
    We turn 75 the week before we land in Shannon and thanks to the $100 deductable on our car collision policies I have had several minor scratches and tailgate dings from the farm fixed . Now I am concerned that the “accident report” may cause car rental problems ? We think that maybe enterprize does not ask for my insurance
    company’s accident report , but they are considerably more expensive .
    Suggestions ?

  7. Thank you so much for your great advice. My family and I are traveling to Ireland in September and renting a van from the Dublin airport (Sixt) as there are 6 of us in total (won’t be traveling to Northern Ireland). I am now starting to really put all plans in place, and was reading through the fine print of my booking and nearly passed out when I saw the excess fees. But I didn’t understand that these would be in place of waiving insurance coverage – so I do feel a bit better. That’s a lot to place on a card when you’re traveling! I did see above that you recommend the super full coverage, which I am looking into – since the cost is being split between 6, I definitely feel okay about taking it. Any additional tips or advice you can pass along would be so welcome! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jillian. You should get insurance according to your level of comfort based on, budget, available credit on your card. Several participants in this forum, including me, have used the insurance that comes with the Chase Sapphire card which allowed us to completely decline all coverage which saved us a fair amount of money.

      The downside for some people of course is that the rental agency places a security deposit hold on the card for $2000-$4000 on average until the car is returned safely. Also, in the event of damages, the agency will bill your card for all repairs and you must then go through the process of filing claims with Chase to get reimbursed.

      Other people choose the full coverage including the excess waiver / reduction fee & have been pleased with the results. So it’s up to you.

      Only other thing I would reiterate would be to get the smallest possible van that will comfortably and safely accommodate 6 people. The roads are often quite tiny once you get off the main highways.

      Have a BLAST!!!

      1. I would have to agree with everything Jay has said. :-) It really is up to how comfortable you are with having charges on your card that may need to be reimbursed by your credit card company if there is any damage. With six people renting a vehicle, the super collision damage should work out to less than three dollars per person per day–so it may not be as a big of deal than if you were going at it alone. Enjoy your trip to Ireland! I think you’ll love the experience with you family in September (our favorite time of year!).

  8. Is it too soon to expect follow up answers to my concern regarding age and accident limitations to renting a car in Shannon ?

    1. Hi Dan,

      Good news! Dan Dooley doesn’t have an upper age limit. http://www.dandooley.com/rental_terms

      Most of the car companies (For example, Budget & Hertz) allow for renters over the age of 75, but they require a letter from your insurance policy to state that you haven’t had any accidents from the last 5 years, which it sounds might be difficult.

      You would need to call up Hertz in Dublin or Shannon directly to determine what their policy is as it doesn’t explicitly say on their website.

      I hope this helps a little! Enjoy your trip to Ireland in August–not long now! :-)

  9. Hi Stephanie, i booked a car in Cork for about 12 days and i am 21 years old. Do you know how much will i have to pay in additional because of my age? Thanks

    1. Hi Mary!

      It depends on who you booked your car rental through as the costs can vary, but on average I think you should expect to pay about 40 euros more per day. However, some agencies include that cost in the quote when you booked, so check and see if it is already there. Have a great time in Ireland Mary!

  10. Great resource here, my thanks as well. I’m looking at a five-day rental starting in Dublin city center ending at Shannon Airport. I’m curious why Dan Dooley’s fee (a little over $500) is about $100 higher than Europcar’s, when I specified the Super CDW and otherwise similar criteria for both (such as no personal injury insurance). I see a lot of horror stories about Europcar elsewhere, so I’m leery of them, but this is a rather significant price difference. Anything unexpected I might get hit with by Europcar? (For what it’s worth, we’re going through Northern Ireland, but neither asked about that for the quote. Dooley terms and conditions say no extra for crossing borders “except one way” so it’s not completely clear, while Europcar says it’s a 34-Euro charge–which still brings us to a lot less than Dooley overall.)

    1. Hi Robert,

      You must be excited about your upcoming trip! It’s my understanding that the Europcar quote that you receive online doesn’t include the Super Excess insurance. It is typically about 18-20 euros extra per day. Double check your Europcar’s quote’s terms and conditions. This would probably make up the difference. If it does include the excess insurance, great. You may have gotten a good deal. However, just running a quick search through the Europcar site myself, it wasn’t included.

      I hope this helps you a little & I hope you have a great time in Ireland! :-)

  11. I’m traveling solo to Ireland this fall. Dublin to Cork to Westmeath to Dublin airport. Can take public to Cork, but seems easiest to rent for Cork to Westmeath-Dublin airport legs. I don’t have a credit card. Are debit cards not accepted at all? Some sites say Budget will accept if u get the Super CDW. Is this correct?

    1. Hi Karen!
      Solo trips can be great fun in Ireland. I am sure you will enjoy yourself. Unfortunately I don’t think there are any rental companies that allow you to rent with a debit card, even if the super CDW is purchased. Here is the line item on Budget’s rental terms: Budget Car Rental accept all major Credit Cards. The renter must present their Credit Card at the time of picking up the car. Debit Cards or specified value pre-paid Credit Cards will not be accepted.

      Your best bet is to get a credit card if you can before you leave. Or use the bus system in Ireland which is pretty reliable (although may not be the most convenient). Have a great time!

  12. Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “Credit Card Form” to fill out?

  13. Great blog. So much to consider when renting a car.. thanks for all your information. I didn’t see anyone mention that some car rentals will not let you travel to Northern Ireland. Any reason for this? We will be doing a full circle tour of Irleand and that includes NI. Also, we are going to switch to an international phone plan. Can’t I use my google maps for navigating around Ireland rather than purchase the $$$ GPS?

    Finally, 2015 has been a bit cooler than normal I understand. What clothing would you suggest we pack besides jeans. Are people wearing wools in September? Would a wind-proof jacket lined with a light flannel/fleece be adequate. I hate to pack tennis shoes, regular shoes and hiking boots. Your suggestion?

    1. Dooley allowed us to go to Northern Ireland (it’s possible they had a charge for that, but I don’t think so), though we didn’t start or end there. (One negative for Dooley is that its locations are not convenient or well-marked at either the northern, off-airport site in Dublin or in Shannon.)

      As for GPS, get a local SIM card for your (hopefully unlocked) cell phone from Meteor or another store–they’re only 10 Euros to start for data-only and you probably won’t need more (you can call using Skype or Hangouts). Streets are often not well-marked and sometimes have the same name except for Street, Road, etc. Google Maps will not provide detailed enough maps and location unless you have an Internet connection, as we found out to our dismay.

      And as for weather, we ran into cold, wet, and windy weather just last week (first week of August). Locals said it was November weather and I believe it. So I’d check just before you go and bring adequate clothing if it looks cold, though umbrellas are cheap everywhere and of course you can always pick up a nice Irish wool sweater. Wouldn’t count on only one pair of shoes if there’s going to be any rain.

      1. Hi Stephanie – the time it took to read through the 2 years of posts to this site was well worth it. Many thanks to you for the excellent initial information and to other posters, especially Jay, who added new data and their own real life experiences.

        We’re planning a 3-week trip starting later this month (August). I have a couple of questions/comments:

        1) My auto insurer – Chubb – tells me they will cover me for any shortfalls in insurance on my Ireland car rental. What should I get in writing from them, and will this be acceptable to my car hire company (not yet booked)?

        2) Which of the car rental companies that you list for Dublin have counters in each terminal? What are the their hours (we arrive at 18:30 on a Sunday).

        3) On a trip last year to Italy, France and Spain, I very successfully used Google Maps as my GPS and TripAdvisor to find nearby restaurants – both on my iPhone. I purchased local SIM cards and data plans from Vodaphone, so I used the cell network and didn’t have to be on line. Will this work in Ireland?

        4) As I’m 73, age is an issue, and the various firms have differing policies. Most are available on their websites, but a phone call to confirm could save a lot of hassle at the counter.

        5) After your trip, CHECK YOUR CREDIT CARD STATEMENT to be sure you were charged only the amount on your final invoice. Be careful if you return a car and no one checks you in. On a Norwegian cruise, after I left a 1-day rental at dockside per a previous arrangement, I discovered the Hertz franchisee had changed the invoice and forged my signature on a bogus contract. I went straight to the top at Hertz with a letter to the president and was given high level attention. Not only did they void out my whole 1-day rental, but they sent me a $300 credit towards a future rental!

        I look forward to your feedback on my questions.

        Thanks, Stephanie! Don (Winetripper)

        1. Hi Don,
          Thanks so much for the kind words! I am really glad you’ve found the site helpful!

          As far as using your current auto insurance in Ireland, it is probably too good to be true. You will need to get from them in writing within 2 weeks of your rental a formal letter stating that they will cover you in Ireland.

          Here are the car rental counters in Dublin: http://www.dublinairport.com/gns/to-from-the-airport/car-rentals.aspx

          Dan Dooley doesn’t have maximum age requirements, but several other companies do–your gut is right to double check before you go.

          You should be perfect with a sim card in Ireland like you did in France. If you are planning to go to Northern Ireland, you may need to switch to another card while you are there.

          Good for you for paying attention your statement! How unfortunate that happened with Hertz, but I am very glad to hear they made it right!

          Enjoy your time in Ireland Don. It sounds like you are ready for a great trip! :-)

    2. Hi Evonne,
      Robert has given you some great advice. Most rental companies don’t charge to drive through Northern Ireland so you should be all right there!

      Unless you have an international data plan on your phone, you won’t have great luck with google maps. Honestly, the way we get around is good old fashioned maps. Our favorite maps are Ordinance Survey Ireland maps and can be found in most tourist offices.

      Yes, people will be wearing wool sweaters, rain jackets and something light underneath–to take on and off as needed. I think that a water-proof jacket and a fleece is better than wind proof and a fleece. If you aren’t doing a lot of hiking I’d leave those home. Two pairs of shoes should be good, so that you can switch on and off.

      September is a great time to go! I hope you have a wonderful time!

  14. This may be an obvious question, but are you required to purchase CDW even if you purchase Excess? I’ve noticed on some sights it gives you the option to put both.

    Also, have you used Hertz? I’m ready so many conflicting reviews, so I felt like it was best to go through a company I’ve used in the U.S. Also, is it better to book through the .com site or .ie?

    Thank you for this post!

    1. Hi Madi! Those are actually great questions. Once you select Excess or SCDW, you shouldn’t be able to refuse CDW and should be required to purchase CDW. So I suppose to answer your question, yes you should have to get CDW in order purchase Excess. I have rented through Hertz via Easy Tour Ireland, which does give the option to purchase Excess upfront. However With Easy Tour you are essentially booking through a third party instead of directly with Hertz. Some people really like the comfort of booking with an American company, but I’d suggest using the .ie version of the site so you know CDW is included in your quote. Read the terms and conditions to find out how much SCDW will cost you at the counter. I hope this helps! :-)

  15. Hi Stephanie, i have a question that im not sure about and was wondering if you could clarify for me. I am going to ireland next year and have been researching all about renting a car, i was looking at budget car rental, it ays if u tick the box to decline the cdw, it is already iincluded, but the they put a hold on your card for around 1350 euro, to avoid that i was going to get the excess reduction option of 268 euro, does that mean they dont need to hold an amount on your master card? And if the car is returned the way i got it do u know if u get that excess of 268 euro refunded? Would greatly appreciate it if anyone knows:)

    1. You won’t get that 268 Euros back, though it’s likely that it will eliminate the need for a hold. Still probably worth it if you’re not experienced driving there.

      1. tanks for the info Robert, I thought that would be the case, better safe than sorry I suppose, id rather pay the excess reduction that have them have access to my credit card of 2300 dollars :)

    2. Hi Ash! Robert’s right, you won’t get 268 euros back for the excess, but you also won’t have that big hold on your rental. You’ll be able to turn in those keys and walk away with no unexpected charges, which is quite nice if you ask me! :-)

  16. Hi,

    Is it possible to rent a car in one city, and drop it off in another city in Ireland? Is it more expensive to do this?

    Thank you for all your information. It is very helpful.

    Miranda

    1. Hi Miranda! Yes you definitely can drop of your car in another city or airport. Some rental companies charge an extra fee for this–look for one way rental feel in the terms and conditions to find out how much. I hope this helps! Have a great trip!
      Stephanie

      1. I read thru every blog here. Did someone answer the question of getting insurance to cover the OTHER car in case of an accident?

        1. Hi Sally–all of the terms and conditions for rental agreements include terms only for the vehicle you have rented. Of course I would check with your rental provider to confirm this or determine what time of insurance would be available for any additional vehicles involved in an accident.

      2. Sorry if I have missed this in the previous posts- I did try to read them all but this is quite the hot topic! I am planning to rent a car with my husband to travel around Ireland for 6 full days. When getting the super insurance, for say 133 euros, is this instead of or in addition to the CDW of say, 103 euros. The total being 236 euros above the cost of the basic rental?

  17. We have returned from our trip to Ireland and wanted to let you know that your blog was a great help to us when selecting a rental car. That being said, I wanted to share our experience with Dooley Car Rental in the Dublin Airport. We visited the kiosk at the airport and gave them our reservation number for a Ford Focus, Class C. He asked where we were traveling and we only mentioned that we were visiting cousins just north of the city. We did not tell him our entire itinerary which included the western coast and Cliffs of Moher, etc. When we arrived at the rental office, we were surprised that they were giving us a standard sized car. We told them this would not be easy for us to drive in areas best suited for smaller cars. They said they did not have any more Ford Focus available. They then brought out their smallest economy car a Class A which we had to wait for while they cleaned it up. In the meantime, the couple who arrived much after us was given a Ford Focus. I asked them where was ours? They again said they had no more. In their defense, I believe they upgraded our car because they thought we were only traveling the 40 minutes to our cousins and not the usual tourist locations that could be difficult to navigate. However, if they had a Ford Focus as we saw they did, they should have given that to us and not assumed where we were traveling. Finally, they gave us no refund for the difference in the cars. When we returned to the states, I had to request it. I calculated that it was a $50 difference based on my quotes, however, they only wanted to give us $28. This is poor customer service and I would not recommend Dooley Car Rental.

    1. Hi Meaghan,

      Ireland recognizes US drivers licenses for car rentals/hires. Beware there may be surcharges for drivers under the age of 23 in Ireland. If you haven’t already you should take your time and read through this fantastic thread on hiring a car when you are in Ireland.

      You should also take some time to check out some youtube or other videos on driving in Ireland. It’s an amazing way to see the country but the roads, once off the very nice highways, range from ‘very tight for two cars passing’ to ‘someone has to pull off the shoulder and wait for the other to pass’

      Harrowing as it may be for the first day or so, it’s not to be missed and sooo worth it!

  18. Couple of observations. First thanks for the great info. The comments are a lot to read through.
    Second, why in the world is it such a pain in the rear to do a simple car rental in Ireland. It’s not like this in other countries. Heck even in third world countries I’ve found this easier.
    Lastly, many of the credit card companies have updated Ireland primary insurance coverage since you originally wrote this. I know Chase Sapphire is regarded now as one of the best but regardless of this (as you point out) is that if you plan to opt out of the CDW you have a 2,000 to 5,000 euro hold (or deposit) put on your card, likely a $30+ fee to opt out.

  19. So it sounds like we would be allowed to rent a car in Dublin and take it on the ferry to Hollyhead and keep it in Wales for a number of days. We already have ferry tickets do not include the car but I assume we can change that to add the car as long as we act quickly.

    1. Hi Kellie!

      Just double check with your car rental company on the terms and conditions for the rental to the UK and back. Most allow it, but I believe some charge a fee. I think Irish Ferries charges a 20 Euro change fee for any changes to your ticket. You can also rent a car near Holyhead (Hertz has an operation there–and I am sure there are others). I hope this helps!!

  20. My experience with car rentals over the years lead me to forgetting about the using my credit card coverage as it is too risky. I found easytourireland.com who work with Hertz and are the only ones offering a fully inclusive rate with no deductible and no hidden charges. The rate is very competitive and the service what great. I have used them four time now in the past four years and each time I am impressed with no hassles. I would add them to one’s itinerary planning research. I make my reservation in January or February as that is when they have great bonus offers. This year I got a free Hertz GPS with my rental for June. Can’t beat it.

    1. Hi Jan Barnett,

      For my 8-day rental this July, I checked the Hertz rate with easytourireland.com and it’s doubled the rate from what I booked directly from Hertz. I have a World MasterCard so it covers the insurance in Ireland. I got a small size SUV (Nissan Qashqai) for 202 Euros (8 days). It’s a really good deal!

      1. What you found was a rate where you decline the Hertz insurance and accept the insurance coverage of Mastercard’s insurance company. That means you have NO insurance from Hertz and that is why your rate is so cheap. It also means you are responsible for all the damage to the car. Hertz will take a $4000 hold on your credit card for potential damage and if there is any they will charge you card for the damage and then you have to fight with Mastercard’s insurance company to get you money back. It has been my experience that it will take you about 18 months and then they have you settle for half. To me using the credit card coverage is like a reverse lottery ticket. You’re OK if you have no damage but you end up paying more if there is damage. To me a vacation is a vacation and why have a rental car hangover. Read the terms on your Mastercard insurance agreement and make sure you understand your responsibility to get photos of damage, a police report, damage estimates…..how do you do that when you’re already back home filling out claim forms from your Mastercard insurance company?

        The easytourireland.com Fully Inclusive Rate includes all of the insurances and you don’t have any anxiety about damage to the car. Of course it will be less than a rate without insurance.

        Life offers choices. Anxiety or no anxiety. I choose NO anxiety.

        1. A comment on personal experience with Chase Mastercard insurance and this post in general.

          First, I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the coverage is excellent and I have had to use it twice. Once for a very minor parking lot scrape, but the other was for a significant crash which left my rental care unusable for the remainder of my stay. Europcar had a replacement to me in about 3 hours. The total damages to my rental were just over 11,000 eu / 12,200 usd.

          I was required to send all accident report documentation to the claim department but there was no challenging or attempt to settle for a lesser value. There was one phone call with a case agent to verify that the report was in agreement with my understanding of the events, and about 3 weeks later the claim was settled and done.

          Regarding this statement in a previous post:——————-
          “”make sure you understand your responsibility to get photos of damage, a police report, damage estimates…..how do you do that when you’re already back home filling out claim forms from your Mastercard insurance company?””——————

          Regardless of WHO is covering the car- easytour, the actual agency, or a credit card based underwriter, reports, claims and photos will be required in the event of a mishap.

          It is inaccurate to imply that a ‘no hassle’ policy would relieve one of the necessity to secure proper documentation of such an event. The covering party is going to need that info, period- and the renting party must bear the burden of getting it and turning it over to the appropriate agency.

          In my opinion the biggest determining factors are 1.) if you have a car that provides coverage and you can handle the temporary security deposit fee and still have enough credit available to do what you want/need to do. 2.) your understanding of exactly what the real charges to you will be in the event of an accident – regardless of who is covering the final bill and your ability to bear those charges should it become necessary.

          So ultimately that brings it back to a matter of personal choice – EXCEPT for residents of TX, ND, MN, RI and NY.

          Here is a clip from an insurance under writer website: >>>>>>>>>

          “”If you are insured in the following states (TX, ND, MN, RI and NY) your state statutes require personal auto insurance to pay for damages to rental vehicles under liability coverage. We require settlement documentation to determine what additional amounts, if any, we can cover. In the event your insurance company denied your claim, a copy of the denial letter will be required.””

          <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
          Source: https://www.eclaimsline.com/home/glossaryOfterms

          1. Hi Jay,

            I sure hope you didn’t get any injuries in that 11000 euro car crash. Delighted you had a good experience with the credit card insurance. Not all turn out that way. Mine didn’t.

            My post was in response to a comment that and to answer why the basic (no insurance rate) was cheaper than the Hertz fully inclusive rate through easytourireland.com.

            I am now a believer in having full insurance as I am no longer a risk taker and to me relying on third party insurance (credit card coverage) is a risk. There is no hassle with Hertz when you include their insurance on the rental contract.

            Many folks believe as you do and that is fine for them. My experience and advice is probably just as valid as yours for those that are not comfortable without full insurance as I am not.

            One thing that I did find out when I went through my credit card insurance claim is that there is a limit of $50,000 in damage. That would mean that if I rented a car that was over $50,000 in value and the car was totaled that I would have had exposure to the amount above $50,000.

            New cars in Ireland cost considerably more than in the USA and a car that would cost $35,000 in the USA would cost well over $50,000 in Ireland due to the VRT Vehicle Registration Tax on new cars. So if someone is planning on using the credit card coverage I would recommend that they choose to a car category that would fit under that $50,000 ceiling in the vent of a totaled car claim.

            I still say that on a vacation take the least anxious way of travel and that includes renting a car…..wherever that may be.

          2. Hi Jan. You are 100% right about the $50k USD limit. And there’s another consideration with CC insurance – cars defined as ‘exotic’ or ‘luxury’. It’s possible that if you rented a 2010 BMW that only valued at say $35k, its possible that you may NOT be covered at all if BMW’s fit into the underwriter’s luxury category.

            So for sure this is a complicated issue and I am so glad again to have so many people participating here. Until I found this site I spent many many frustrating days trying to find out the facts and fictions of car hires in Ireland.

            If the rate isn’t significantly higher (as in the DOUBLE I have hear from many others) then the full compliment of agency insurance is certainly a safe way to go as long as the agency is reputable and the renter fully understands what their liabilities will be in a worst-case.

            As for injuries, none, and thanks for asking! It was done when passing another car that was pulled off the road. Slow enough to not get hurt but fast enough to fairly ruin the door and front quarter panel.

          3. It all depends on what your card covers. I just double-checked both my cardmember’s guide to benefits (which outlines the CDW coverage in great detail) and the letter I got to give to the rental agency, and they say nothing of a benefit cap, at $50K or any other amount. They don’t cover exotic or antique cars, but do say “However, selected models of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Lincoln are covered.”

            As always, your mileage may vary, and it behooves you to know *exactly* what your particular card covers, and all the terms of that coverage. And the car rental agency’s fine print terms and conditions, which are available on their websites.

            I’m not here to shill for any particular outfit, but I will say that my card looks like it will be useful to me, and I am doing research and going into this clear-eyed.

        2. When I checked easytourireland.com their ‘fully inclusive rate’ did not include wheels, tires, loss of keys or contamination of fuel. Additional coverage is required at a cost of €4 per day. Their super CDW coverage specifically notes this exception. It’s my understanding most, if not all rental companies exclude tires and wheels from their super CDW.

          1. I think that’s pretty common Dorothy. We had a flat tire once and had it changed at a local garage instead of working with the car rental agency since it wasn’t covered in our SCDW. It cost us less and a hundred euro. I am pretty sure we would have been charged much more for a replacement tire by the car rental company. Let us know how it goes for you!!

          2. Stephanie,
            I’m thinking about taking out excess coverage (super CDW) with worldwideinsure.com. It’s much cheaper than the car rental company’s and includes tires, glass, keys, etc. I know I have to pay and claim later but maybe it’s worth it to save over £200.00. It’s difficult to decide and I would appreciate your thoughts.

          3. You might want to do further research on the recommendation of using https://www.worldwideinsure.com as practically ALL of those third party insurance policies have a ‘residency’ requirement and are not for resident of North America.

            On the top of the website page you’ll find this statement “These policies are suitable if you live in the UK.” Caveat Emptor!

            Stick with the fully inclusive rate such as easytourireland.com offers with Hertz Ireland.
            Jan

          4. Just replying to someone who replied to my original post. The easytourireland.com name was brought up in the replied that was posted as not including tire and wheels in their Super Cover. The poster advised about a third party insurance that I looked up and I found had a residency requirement. I noticed on another reply to my original post that you can now purchase tire and wheel coverage from Hertz for €4 a day. Sounds to me like that is the best way to go as Hertz would be the primary insurer and not a third party insurer.
            Check out all the options and do your homework has worked well for me.

          5. Jan,
            Easytourireland’s super excess is not fully inclusive as it specifically excludes wheels and tires. There is an extra daily cost to cover these two items. Worldwideinsure does insure USA residents but you are right in that most don’t. I just can’t decide if it’s worth saving money to go with a third party carrier. I will be taking out CDW with the car rental company…only the excess cover with worldwideinsure as they cover more in their policy for less money than the car rental company.

  21. thanks Sam. I should have specified the $50k limit was specified by Chase Sapphire. I am sure there will be variance between card types

  22. Stephanie:
    Would it be practical to fly into Dublin and take a train to Cork and rent a car in Cork? The reason is that we were too disoriented to drive after a sleepless night coupled with all that goes with driving in Ireland. We drove to Drogheda and it was terrifying, even for my even keeled husband. We thought we could stay in Cork a few days, then drive over to Dingle for a few days. Train back to Dublin from Cork.

    1. Best to take the train whenever you can and the car only when you really need it. We landed in Shannon Airport, took a train to Dublin and stayed a couple days, and only then rented a car to drive around Northern Ireland and back to Shannon. Worked well.

      1. Hi Ione! I agree with Robert. Taking the train (or even bus) to Cork is a great idea. It will take just a couple hours and it is quite nice not to have to drive those first couple of days. Cork is a great place and often overlooked by other travelers–I think you’ll really like the “Irishness” to the city. :-) Have a great time!

    2. For sure you want to be well rested for the drive to Dingle.

      R561 isn’t too harrowing, but N86, the last 30 minutes or so cane be a little hairy if you have been behind the wheel all day. Even though most internet maps put it at about 2.5 hours, I would plan on 3.5 hours (depending on where in Cork you leave from. If you are in far east or northeast Cork add 45 mins) if you take 1 or 2 refresher breaks. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Hi Ione,

      I would recommend taking the train from Dublin to Cork, then renting a car in Cork. That’s exactly what we did last March.

      We took a taxi to the train station in Dublin, then in Cork we took a cab to the Cork airport to rent our car. We did it this way as we were flying out of Cork. Worked out really well.

      ————————–

      Stephanie, thanks for this website and the work you’ve put into it. It’s very helpful and informative!

      We’re taking another trip to Ireland this May, and I was going to rent a car tonight and stumbled across this blog. I can’t remember what I did last year, probably added on the SCDW. It seemed expensive, but the peace of mind was worth it, as you say over and over.

      I do have a Canadian Platinum Business Avion Visa card, which Visa says covers Ireland. I’ll double-check tomorrow with a phone call, but I’m fairly certain it does both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

      I am wondering, when you waive the CDW because you’re covered on your own card, and you still get those odd scratches on the side of your car, do you (or any readers) have any experience of your card being charged extra fees for damage? And how easy was the claim process?

      Thanks in advance!!

      Andy

      1. Hey Stephanie,

        I just followed your link to the other post on this subject, and got my answer.

        I did just speak with RBC Visa about this whole insurance issue and they’ve summed it up pretty nicely for me.

        For Canadians, holding the RBC Visa Platinum Avion Business card (there is actually a pretty long list of RBC’s cards that also work), they will happily cover the car rental CDW insurance, in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

        The RBC representative did tell me that they will cover the damage/collision of the car I am driving, but not the other car (if there is another car), so it’s important for me to know this and to buy the 3rd party liability insurance from the rental company.

        I mentioned to her that I had read online that in order for the credit card company to step up and offer the collision/damage coverage, that all insurances had to be declined from the rental company. She told me, not from RBC Visa, and again told me that even if I bought 3rd party liability from the rental company, they would absolutely still be responsible for looking after the CDW portion of the insurance. “We will look after you and your car, not the other car.”

        I had asked if the claims process was easy and she assured me it was. On the paper that I’m supposed to present to the car rental agency, it also has the phone number that I am supposed to call (within 48 hours) in the event of any damage occurring to the car. She said that they call the rental agency and look after everything. Not sure exactly how that would be done, but that was what I was told.

        She said that they cover cars only, and up to $65000 CAD.

        When I asked for the letter to be sent to me, she said I’ll have it by the end of the week. Very cool. I’ll call them again when I’m close to the travel date.

        Anyway, on my upcoming trip in May, I’ll be using my card to avoid the CDW insurance premiums.

        I’m also going to post this in your other thread that’s dealing specifically with this kind of question.

        Many thanks, once again!

        Andy

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